Mayweather stops Asakura in front of Pacquiao as Jake Paul eyes fight

The boxing icon was back in Saitama on Saturday for another money-spinning crossover duel, almost four years after leaving kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in tears following a brutal first-round stoppage that saw his opponent hit the canvas three times.

This time it was Mikuru Asakura who went toe-to-toe with the undefeated former five-weight, 15-time world champion, who did not produce too much action in the first round but quickly dominated the second in a scheduled three-rounder before delivering a spiteful right hand that dropped the popular YouTuber and Rizin mixed martial artist just before the bell.

Asakura could not respond sufficiently and the bout was quickly waved off by referee Kenny Bayless.

“I would like to thank the whole country of Japan. Unbelievable country, unbelievable people,” Mayweather said afterwards.

Mayweather dropped and stopped his opponent at the end of round two in Saitama, Japan

/ AP

“An exciting, crazy turnout, round of applause for this tough competitor. Thanks for having me. I’ll be back.”

Mayweather then had another reunion with Manny Pacquiao, who watched the contest from ringside having traded barbs with his former arch-rival at a press conference on Friday, sparking rumours of a potential rematch between the retired pair.

“I hope this is not my last invitation to watch a good fight, a good exhibition,” said Pacquiao, whose presence at the fight will only add further fuel to that speculation, despite claims that he was merely there to support Asakura, who travelled to the Philippines to seek advice from the legendary ex-eight division world champion.

Saturday night was Mayweather’s fourth such exhibition since retiring from competitive boxing for the second time at 50-0 – controversially surpassing the great Rocky Marciano – following his victory over UFC superstar Conor McGregor five years ago, having beaten Nasukawa before going the distance in no-contest bouts against internet celebrity Logan Paul and former sparring partner Don Moore.

Mayweather’s former arch-rival Manny Pacquiao watched the contest from ringside

/ AFP via Getty Images

He plans to fight KSI’s brother Deji in November, while he also looks set to return to the Middle East for one more exhibition in 2022.

Mayweather – who claims to have earned in excess of $20million for his fight against Asakura, about whom he admitted to knowing almost nothing – also insisted before his latest exhibition that he would be willing to stage a real fight against Jake Paul at his own current weight.

Paul responded by confidently insisting that he would stop Mayweather and implored the president of Showtime Sports to make the contest happen.

“My brother took you the distance,” he tweeted. “I would finish you in 6. @StephenEspinoza please make this fight happen so I can send him into proper retirement.”